"150 Years of RWTH"

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Dear Friends of RWTH Aachen University,

When the “Königliche Rheinisch-Westphälische Polytechnische Schule zu Aachen” was founded in 1870, it was intended to strengthen the creative power of the economy in the region. Today, we would say the power of innovation. One hundred fifty-one years on, this goal is more relevant than ever, yet this does not mean that the University – now “Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule” – has not substantially changed or developed over time.

Yes, our RWTH turned 150 in 2020 – the Year of the Coronavirus. Poor timing, you might be thinking! Of course, we wanted to celebrate this very special birthday with you – our instructors, employees, students, friends, and supporters, as well as everyone who is keen to get to know us better. We wanted to both look back on the past and look to the future, too. And then reality caught up with all of us. It was not just our University that had to react quickly. Regular summer and winter semesters turned into online ones; in our everyday work, we faced the daily challenge of maintaining the University’s operations under constantly changing conditions. Under these circumstances, we felt we had no choice but to cancel all the planned events to celebrate our anniversary. We made this decision with heavy hearts, but at the same time, we were convinced that our focus had to be on overcoming the crisis.

And yet all was not lost! For Albert Einstein said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” So we made up for many of our anniversary plans or adapted them to the circumstances. On Saturday, October 10, 2020, RWTH’s actual birthday, we already got started in this direction when we created a true alternative to a more typical social experience for our University’s members and friends by showing our special anniversary movie. We warmly invite you to watch this anniversary film - a virtual show - on the video platform YouTube even now, after our 150th anniversary year. The television producers Ralph Caspers and Shary Reeves will give you some fascinating insights into current research activities at RWTH while tangibly highlighting the topic of sustainability in particular. You will also experience science journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim’s excellent keynote speech and the University’s Collegium Musicum ensemble’s terrific rendition of RWTH graduate Renzo Vitale’s specially composed anniversary symphony.

In these extraordinary times, let us all see this film as a sign of our unbroken power of innovation. RWTH is still going strong, even after more than 150 years.

Stay tuned!

Professor Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Ulrich Rüdiger
Rector of RWTH Aachen University


#150YearsofRWTH – The Show.


#150JahreRWTH - Die Show. (with sign language)


#150YearsofRWTH: Opening Speech for the Anniversary by RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger


150 Years of RWTH:Kick-Off Event.